Know the mountain weather rules (fjellvettreglene)

My last survival tip can save your life, and that’s not the start of another bad joke. There is actually a set of rules that all Norwegians know called fjellvettreglene, or the mountain weather rules. While the nature of Norway is no doubt beautiful, it can also be dangerous for us non-Vikings if we don’t know what we’re doing. We’re not just talking about going out on a small hiking trail in a government park. We’re talking the real deal and, quite literally, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere nature.

So since the 1930s the Norwegian government has shared some rules for the mountain. They have gone through a few iterations, with the last updated version of the rules being published in 2016. Get to know them know and be prepared for the inevitable mountain climb you’ll be invited to in Norway.

The Mountain Weather Rules

1. Plan your trip and report where you are going.

2. Adapt the trip according to ability and conditions.

3. Pay attention to weather and avalanche warnings.

4. Be prepared for storms and cold, even on short trips.

5. Bring the necessary equipment to be able to help yourself and others.

6. Make safe choices. Recognize avalanche-prone terrain and unsafe ice.

7. Use a map and compass. Always know where you are.

8. Turn in time – there is no shame in turning around.

9. Save energy and seek shelter if necessary.

The Birth of Fjellvettreglene

Fjellvettreglene, which translates to “The Mountain Code,” originated in the early 20th century when recreational hiking and outdoor activities started to gain popularity in Norway. As more people ventured into the country’s mountains and wilderness, the need for guidelines to ensure their safety became evident.

The First Set of Rules

The Mountain Code as we know it today was formulated in 1952 by two experienced Norwegian mountaineers, Arne Randers Heen and Einar H. Opdal. This set of guidelines was intended to educate outdoor enthusiasts about responsible mountain behavior and to reduce the number of accidents in the mountains.

The Core Principles

Fjellvettreglene consists of nine essential principles, each designed to promote safety, preparedness, and environmental responsibility. These rules are simple, memorable, and easily accessible to anyone heading into the mountains.

1. Plan Your Trip and Inform Others: Before heading out, let someone know your plans and expected return time. This ensures that help can be dispatched if you don’t return as scheduled.

2. Adapt to the Terrain and Weather: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and the rugged terrain. Adjust your plans accordingly to ensure your safety.

3. Be Prepared: Carry the necessary equipment and clothing for the trip, including extra clothing, food, a map and compass, and a first-aid kit.

4. Follow the Route: Stick to the planned route, and avoid unnecessary risks. If conditions become too challenging, it’s better to turn back.

5. Use Common Sense: Make sensible decisions, and always err on the side of caution. Know your own limits and those of your group.

6. Don’t Go Alone: Hiking with others is safer. If something happens to one member of the group, there are others to assist.

7. Turn Back in Time: Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion. Make sure you have enough energy and time to return safely.

8. Conserve Your Energy: Pace yourself and take regular breaks to conserve energy for the entire trip.

9. Keep the Environment Clean: Respect nature and wildlife. Leave no trace of your visit and take all litter with you.

Impact and Legacy

The Mountain Code quickly became a cornerstone of Norway’s outdoor culture. It’s widely taught in schools, outdoor organizations, and hiking clubs. Norwegians embrace these principles as a part of their outdoor ethos, and visitors are encouraged to do the same.

The legacy of Fjellvettreglene extends beyond Norway’s borders. These principles have inspired similar mountain safety codes in other countries, and their universal applicability makes them valuable guidelines for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts around the world.


Fjellvettreglene, the Mountain Code, embodies Norway’s commitment to ensuring safe and responsible outdoor exploration. Its straightforward principles serve as a reminder that nature, while beautiful and inviting, can be unpredictable and challenging. By adhering to these guidelines, both locals and visitors can enjoy the Norwegian wilderness while preserving their own safety and the environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *